The main purpose of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) client is to securely connect your remote device (Laptop, Mobile Device or Home Computer) location to a secure network such as the Arkansas Tech University Network to allow access to systems and data spaces as if you were physically at the campus.
Security is paramount when connecting remotely as many of the connecting devices are not part of the secured systems of the university network and may not contain the same levels of antivirus, firewall protection, and login/access security.
Arkansas Tech uses the Palo Alto Firewall systems and therefore we use the appropriate client for connecting through that system, Global Protect VPN Client. You can get installation information at https://support.atu.edu/a/solutions/categories/7000046069/folders/7000071590 and you may be required to login to get all the information.
It is important to keep the client up to date and ensure that your connecting device (home computer etc.) is as up to date with operating system patches and anti-virus protections. https://support.atu.edu/a/solutions/articles/7000037497
Once connected through the VPN client you are connected to the Arkansas Tech University Network and can access data and systems as if you were connected in your office, but please be aware that it is not exactly the same and your decision to access data directly or through remote desktop, https://support.atu.edu/a/solutions/articles/7000019619 makes a difference.
While using remote desktop only your screen updates are transmitted across the network back to your remote location, but direct access to systems and data drives are actually transferring data to the remote location and thus the necessity for good security and understanding.
You do not need to be connected to the VPN to access systems such as Blackboard and OneTech in general. These systems operate over the HTTP secure resources.